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Tesla Takes Heat From NTSB Chief Homendy Over Self-Driving

NTSB Chairwoman Jennifer Homendy criticized Tesla for labeling its driver-assistance systems 'full self-driving.'
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Electric vehicle darling Tesla  (TSLA) - Get Tesla Inc Report on Tuesday took some heat from National Transportation Safety Board Chairwoman Jennifer Homendy.

She criticized the company on CNBC for labeling its driver-assistance systems as “full self-driving.” The systems are under fire after vehicles with them were involved in several crashes over the past few years.

“It’s clear that if you’re marketing something as full self-driving, and it is not full self-driving, and people are misusing the vehicles and the technology, you have a design flaw and you have to prevent that misuse,” Homendy said.

“Part of that is how you talk about your technology. It is not full self-driving. ... It’s misleading.” The NTSB has three or four open investigations into Tesla fires and crashes, she said.

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The Palo Alto, Calif., company's stock recently traded around $1,035, up 1%. It has leaped 26% in the past eight days amid investors' enthusiasm about the company’s prospects.

Tesla wasn’t immediately available for comment.

It markets its driver-assistance platforms as Autopilot, Full Self-Driving and FSD Beta in the U.S., CNBC reports.

But its cars aren’t self-driving, and in owners’ manuals it cautions drivers to maintain their hands on the wheel and “be prepared to take over at any moment.”

Morningstar analyst Seth Goldstein assigns Tesla a narrow moat, but puts fair value for the stock at only $680. 

“Much of the good news is already priced into the stock,” he wrote last week. “Tesla carries tremendous uncertainties. Electric vehicles could remain a niche segment.”